This may seem bit a field for Blogging Blue…but Governor Evers signed a bill allowing local governments to permit and regulate the scooters in their areas. This is the result of the scooter controversy in Milwaukee last summer when Bird scooters started operating in the city unannounced. Naturally a number of companies want to operate in Milwaukee and I imagine in Madison.

Scooters in Wisconsin will have to operate like bicycles and have limits on their speed. And municipalities get to place other restrictions on their use. Oddly enough it won’t be illegal to operate them while intoxicated. wtf????

I see their appeal. They look like fun to operate. They are hip. The are alternate transportation that like cars can go point to point as the user sees fit. But for the non-user, they seem like a pain in the ass and I am not going to be a proponent.

This past May and June, I spent two weeks in France including ten days in Paris. There are at least four operators, maybe five, in Paris. So scooters are everywhere. Some areas restrict them or prevent them from entering, like the Tuileries Gardens and the plaza immediately around the Pyramid at the Louvre.

But as far as I can tell, there are no lane restrictions, speed restrictions, passenger restrictions, or other. Of course there are no parking corrals or racks…

So my experience says these can be a little dangerous. When used in the modern bike lanes that Paris is establishing they are a breeze to use. Assuming traffic laws are obeyed…I nearly got knocked down by a young woman who swore at me as she whizzed by as I was crossing a street WITH the walk light…excuse me for making you swerve while you were running the red light.

I saw dozens of close calls while scooters wove in and out of pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks along the Seine. Luckily it wasn’t quite high season yet and the walks in that area are wide by Parisian standards. Although I did see one scooter lying near the curb that had hit something.

But Paris is an old city and many of the sidewalks are barely three feet wide. Riding a scooter there is problematic. The street I was staying on was very narrow and very popular and very crowded. At ten at night it was like trying to walk down the main aisle at Summerfest…so I can’t imagine how the scooter that was dumped in front of my apartment door that nearly tripped me up one morning….got there.

A friend who lives there and owns a pub there said the city is trying to determine what they need to regulate i.e. scooters. Dumping them in the middle of narrow sidewalks or in front of businesses is becoming a big problem. Dumping meaning…just dropping them where they stop using them…not standing them up using the kick stands or placing them near a building or light pole…just laying flat on the sidewalk. They definitely want to ban multiple passengers on scooters…I saw a lot of that…apparently it causes hazardous riding. And winding in and out of vehicular traffic at stop lights has resulted in a number of serious injuries.

Milwaukee will do what it wants to do. I would recommend some limits on where the scooters can be picked up, dropped off and stored. Obviously keep them off the sidewalks while in operation and limit number of occupants. And please make it illegal to operate them while intoxicated…that can’t be good for anyone. And make it a requirement that the scooter company retrieve any that end up in the river, park lagoons or lakes…and fine users who ‘place’ them there.

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